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Last Updated: Friday, 6 May, 2005, 18:55 GMT 19:55 UK
Mayoral battle is won by Labour
Mark Meredith Stoke-on-Trent's mayor
Mr Meredith recevied 36,961 votes
Despite almost 9,500 ballot papers being rejected in Stoke-on-Trent's mayoral election battle, the Labour candidate, Mark Meredith, has won.

Conservative candidate Roger Ibbs came second, Mike Wolfe, elected mayor for the past two years came third and BNP candidate Steve Batkin fourth.

Earlier, Mr Wolfe, an Independent, conceded saying Mr Meredith was too far ahead to be caught.

Officials say a large number of papers had abusive comments written on them.

Shrunken majority

Others, they said, had been left blank.

A council spokesman told BBC News that the 9,483 spoiled ballots amounted to around 10% of votes cast being rejected.

Meanwhile, Labour have retained control of Staffordshire County Council.

Their majority has shrunk from 36 to 32, as the Conservatives won 27 seats - five more than previously.

The Liberal Democrats have also lost out to the Tories with their seats halving to two.